As the work-arrangement tug-of-war between employers and workers continues, much of the coverage has focused on employees’ desire for remote- and hybrid-work options. Perhaps surprisingly, however, a recent survey from iHire found that while close, workers’ preference for in-person work (36.3%) edged out remote (32.2%) and hybrid (31.5%) options.
Hints of some employees preferring in-person work have emerged over the past few years. Last June, Indeed found that candidate interest in in-person job listings had spiked, with positions in food preparation and service, hospitality and tourism and retail seeing renewed interest. Indeed additionally found that an occupational sector’s likelihood of offering remote work had stopped having a statistically significant link with job seeker interest.
As researchers continue to follow workers’ preferences, age group is emerging as an important determinant of what workers say they want. In particular, those relatively new to the employment scene, like Generation Z, have reported negative effects from lack of on-site work, especially on collaboration and teamwork.
These findings are reflected in iHire’s survey, which found that 43.6% of 18- to 30-year-olds preferred in-person work, compared with 29.6% preferring hybrid work and 25.4% preferring remote work. In contrast, a plurality of 31- to 50-year-olds showed a preference for hybrid work, and a plurality of those 51 and up preferred remote work.
While the discrepancy based on age groups is notable, the wide range of preferences within each group may be just as relevant; preferences didn’t break out into perfect thirds, but there was no clear loser when it came to employee preference and work arrangement. Preferences may simply boil down to things like personality, work style and job responsibilities.
For those that prefer some type of remote-work arrangement, however, the option has become largely nonnegotiable, iHire found. More than 4 in 10 respondents said “remote-work options” was on their list of what’s most important in their job search — and when forced to pick only one “most important” factor, 21% selected remote work. Additionally, nearly 30% of respondents said they wouldn’t bother to apply for a job if remote work was not an option.
Beyond its findings on work arrangements, iHire’s survey collected a wide range of research on job seekers’ habits and preferences. Other findings showed that 44.7% of respondents wouldn’t apply to a job that lacked salary information and that half always evaluate benefits information before accepting a job offer.